Blocking mode / lock mode on iPhone – Better protect against cyber attacks from iOS 16

For a few users who could become the target of particularly aggressive cyber attacks, Apple in iOS 16 as well as in iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura implemented the so-called “lockdown mode”. Blocking mode - also called blocking mode or lockdown mode - offers extremely strong protection for devices of people who could be spied on and/or attacked because of their identity or their activities. The lock mode under iOS 16 on the iPhone restricts some functions and content of the Apple smartphone - including websites and apps. Some features cannot be used at all in lockdown mode on the iPhone.

Activating the lock mode on the iPhone is not difficult at all. If you want to turn on block mode on iOS, here are the step-by-step instructions and what the security setting restricts and blocks.

Activating the lock mode on the iPhone is not difficult at all. If you want to turn on block mode on iOS, here are the step-by-step instructions and what the security setting restricts and blocks.

Activate locking mode / blocking mode on the iPhone: instructions from iOS 16

When I read up on the subject, I naturally wanted to try it out myself. I noticed that Apple itself uses the term “locked mode” in its instructions, while in iOS 16 (at least on my iPhone 12 Pro) the settings say “blocked mode”. That's why I use the two terms side by side here, even if only one is mentioned in official instructions. Other than that, this is the step-by-step guide on how to enter lockdown mode / blocking mode on iOS 16 compatible iPhones:

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  1. Opens the Settings on the Apple iPhone
  2. Choose from the list Privacy from
  3. Scroll down to the Security section and tap blocking mode or lockdown mode
  4. Read the safety notice and if you are sure, tap Activate lockdown mode or Activate blocking mode
  5. Now you have to get up Activate & Reboot and then enter the device code (unlock code) and, if necessary, unlock the SIM card

When blocking mode is activated on the Apple iPhone, notifications may appear that indicate that certain functions of the system, an app or websites are restricted. In Safari, a banner also indicates that lockdown mode is active.

Lockdown mode restrictions on iPhone, iPad and Mac

The security setting activated in this way on the Apple device, regardless of whether it is an iPhone, iPad or Mac, causes restrictions - especially with regard to data traffic on the Internet, in networks in general and with regard to external devices. Here is an up-to-date list of the main limitations that come with blocking mode on iOS, iPadOS and macOS:

  • Apple Services: Invitations are blocked unless you have previously invited the inviting person (e.g. for smart home management via the Home app)
  • FaceTime: FaceTime calls will be blocked unless you have previously called the person calling
  • Shared Albums: These photo albums will be removed from the Photos app and new invitations will be blocked (the albums will still be visible on devices without an active lock mode)
  • configuration profiles: The installation of configuration profiles is prevented, and neither mobile device management nor device monitoring can be used
  • News: Links and link previews are blocked, and most message attachments are blocked with some exceptions (some audio, video and image formats).
  • USB accessories: Using USB accessories or connecting to another computer is not possible in this mode
  • web usage: Some web technologies are blocked, which can limit functionality and increase loading times - some fonts and most images will probably not be displayed

What according to the official support document HT212650 but should continue to function without restrictions, i.e. telephone calls and text messages via iMessage or SMS. The emergency functions of the iPhone, such as the accident detection and Emergency SOS, active. You can also refer to Apple's support document for information on how to set specific apps or websites as exceptions to blocking mode / lockdown mode.

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